The importance of time management
Last updated on: September 29, 2022
A lot of people believe they cannot reach their dreams, travel to exotic locations, land their dream jobs, finish their projects before the deadline, get enough sleep every night, and spend enough time with loved ones because they don’t have enough time.
But, here’s the deal:
It’s not limited time that’s the problem, it’s bad time management.
So, we’ll devote this blog post to:
- Explaining what good time management is.
- Listing all the benefits of good time management, with special emphasis on the workplace setting.
- Providing you with a list of useful tips to help you manage your time better.
What is effective time management?
Effective time management is the effective use of your time that allows you to plan your days in such a way that you finish your work with less effort and make the most of the limited time you’ve got.
When we’re lacking good time management skills, we are more likely to:
- Miss project deadlines
- Produce low-quality work
- Disrupt our work-life balance
- Feel more stressed
- Harm our professional reputation
To better understand the benefits of good time management, let’s list and examine them a bit further.
The benefits of effective time management
Knowing how to manage your time properly is important as it brings a number of great benefits to your work routine and life overall.
▶️ Time management helps you achieve what you want faster
When you understand the importance of time management, you gain the motivation to stop sitting around and pursue your goals.
As a result of this hard work and newfound motivation, you reach your goals faster.
▶️ Time management helps you get more done but in less time
When you properly manage time, you get more done, but also save more time for activities you truly enjoy.
Allocating a specific time period, say 1 hour, to a task and sticking to your plan will have a better effect than working on a task with no predefined time slot.
▶️ Time management helps you waste less time and avoid more friction and problems
Properly managing time includes making a to-do list, allocating time to each item from your to-do list, and then scheduling those tasks on your calendar.
By doing so, you’ll no longer be indecisive about what you have to do next, and whether you’ll have to finish everything you need to.
▶️ Time management helps you clear your schedule for more leisure time and feel more energized
Considering that proper time management helps you finish your work faster, you’ll find that you now have more free time.
More free time will mean you have more time to spend with your loved ones, practice a hobby, or even go on a trip abroad — which will all result in you feeling more energized and less stressed.
▶️ Time management helps you feel more fulfilled and self-confident
When you properly manage time, you’ll enjoy the feeling of success a completed to-do list brings.
When you invest yourself in proper time management, you’ll feel more capable of doing anything on your agenda. You’ll see how you can live up to your expectations and in turn, feel a boost of self-confidence about your abilities.
▶️ Time management helps you feel calmer and less stressed over time
When you properly manage time, you don’t have to worry about missing deadlines or forgetting errands — because you already planned your time in such a way that prevents such mishaps from happening.
As a result, you’ll feel less distressed about your workload and calmer about the end results.
▶️ Time management helps you make a change in your lifestyle for the better
Proper time management makes sure you spend less time busy as a bee but as productive as a sloth on a duvet day.
You’ll be able to single out your priorities and schedule your time in such a way that you manage to both attend your daughter’s recital and go over some crucial project issues with a client.
The importance of time management in the workplace
Time management is important in life overall — but it’s especially important in the workplace. By properly managing your time, you’ll enjoy a great number of benefits.
💡 Clockify Pro Tip
To better understand the impact of time management on your work and life, take a look at the ultimate list of time management statistics:
✅ You won’t miss deadlines and appointments
Deadlines and appointments are often difficult to keep track of — and they’re also easy to miss if you’re not careful.
To keep yourself on track with your work and finish on time, you need to make sure you start on time — you’ll also need to ensure you divide your work into manageable chunks you’ll be able to tackle in the predefined time periods.
✅ You’ll focus more and procrastinate less
When you know you’re working on a fixed schedule with tasks allocated to specific time slots in the day, it’ll be easier for you to focus — because you’ll know you have personal deadlines to meet for each task.
As a result, you’ll delay work on said tasks much less. Thus, you’ll learn to deal with procrastination more effectively.
✅ You’ll avoid unwanted stress
Racing to beat a deadline is stressful because you don’t know whether you’ll succeed. But, good time management helps you view your workday, not as a whole, but as a set of tasks you need to go through.
Once you have all your tasks laid out like that, with the specific time you’ll need to finish each of them, it becomes easier to single out priorities and make arrangements that make sure you minimize such stress.
💡 Clockify Pro Tip
Making significant changes in life and at work can be hard. But it’s also necessary. Our two texts on career burnout and mental fatigue go into detail about why a balance is of utmost importance. Read them here:
✅ You’ll maintain your professional reputation
Missing deadlines, forgetting meetings, and rushing projects is an expected outcome of poor time management — one that will likely put a dent in your reputation if given enough time.
But, proper time management eradicates these possibilities and helps you build and maintain your professional reputation.
✅ You’ll avoid financial penalties
There is more to your business than just project deadlines — for example, you’ll need to make sure you pay taxes on time. That is, unless you want to pay an additional 5% fee for every month your return is late.
✅ You’ll be able to set a better work and life balance
Efficient time management implies you’ll make an official schedule for your day.
And, when you divide your day between your work obligations and personal matters on paper, you’re one giant leap closer to establishing a clear work-life balance. One that makes sure you actually find time for both.
That’s the gist of the importance of time management — but, you’ll also need to dig deeper into the problem of time management in order to be able to change your lifestyle for the better.
In other words, you’ll need to stop wasting your time and start using time wisely.
How to stop wasting time
As time is a limited resource in your life, you cannot afford to waste it — instead, you need to embrace what you need to do, and, more importantly, make sure you do it as soon as possible.
But, before you can stop wasting time, you need to understand why you waste it in the first place.
Quite often, we tend to waste our time due to our fear of failure.
But, there’s more to it.
💡 Clockify Pro Tip
According to Parkinson’s law, people tend to adjust their pace to their workload and the amount of time they have to finish it. If you recognize yourself in this, you might want to read our text and find out more about why we waste time and how to avoid it:
Why do we waste our time?
Are you afraid of failure? If you are, ask yourself — why are you afraid of failure?
- Some people fear they won’t be able to recover from their failures and continue with their lives as they once were.
- Other people fear what others will think if they pursue a goal and fail to reach it.
To overcome such fears, you first need to understand that failure is one of the two possible, normal outcomes of your efforts, with both being equally likely. And, more often than not, neither is really under your control.
Sometimes, you’ll succeed because of luck, despite not trying too hard.
Other times, you’ll fail due to unfortunate circumstances despite your best efforts.
In the end, the only thing you can do is to make the most of your time and try your best — work hard, learn to enjoy your successes, and learn to learn from your failures.
Moreover, remember that the only opinion that matters is yours. After all, you’ll be the one who has to live with your choices and the outcomes of your actions — and you’ll most likely be more satisfied if you’re the one responsible for them.
Once you’ve liberated yourself from the pressures of success/failure, and the opinion of others, you can stop wasting time and start building up your life by using time wisely.
15 Tips for managing your time better
To dive deep into effective time management, you can start with our time management guide.
But, if you’re more of a fan of tips and tricks, read on because we have 15 actionable tips in store for you.
💡 Clockify Pro Tip
There’s always room for improving your time management skills. Some tips will work for you and others won’t. Our two texts might inspire you to start using your time wisely at work today:
#1 Be self-aware
Self-awareness represents the foundation of your other skills — without being self-aware of your current strengths and weaknesses, you’ll never be able to assess and improve on your other skills, so you’ll never be able to improve your life.
Also, perhaps even more importantly, unless you’re aware of what you want to achieve, you won’t be able to plan the steps that will lead you to your goals.
Here’s what you can do:
- Keep a journal.
- Write down your thoughts, dreams, and goals over time.
- Write down your strengths and weaknesses.
- Think about how to lessen your weaknesses, or turn them into strengths, and how to make the most of your strengths.
#2 Set your goals
Once you’ve made yourself aware of what you want, turn your wants into concrete goals. If you know exactly where you want to go, it’ll be much easier to understand how you can best get there.
Also, such a fixed objective will save you a lot of time you’d otherwise waste on pointless side-trips and digressions.
This is where the previously mentioned journal can come in handy.
Run through what you’ve written so far, and define your goals — if you were honest about your dreams in your journal, you’ll be able to identify your goals.
💡 Clockify Pro Tip
Do you want to track the time you spend on your goals? Do you also want to track goal progress, and beat procrastination for good? Try out our free goal tracker:
#3 Keep your goals to yourself
You may think keeping your goals to yourself is counterproductive — after all, isn’t it a common saying that if you want your dreams to come true you have to share them with others?
But, it’s the exact opposite of that.
This is tied to the fact that people pursue goals because of the satisfaction they feel when they reach them, and people who announce what their goals are, already feel this satisfaction — which renders actually reaching their goals unnecessary.
So, next time you feel the urge to tell someone about your dreams, goals, and aspirations — simply don’t. This might not seem like a logical time management technique, but, statistically, it’s an effective one.
#4 Self-motivate yourself
Once you’ve made yourself aware of your wants, and sorted out your goals, the next step is to motivate yourself to pursue those goals.
After all, if you don’t believe that you are capable of achieving your goals, how will you ever achieve them?
Think positively about reaching your goals. Define an award that will await you at the end of your journey. And remember to believe in yourself.
#5 Make plans
If your goals are the final destination you’re trying to reach with the help of proper time management, then planning is the first active step on that road.
Unless you make a plan, you’re more likely to lose your way, and thus more likely to fail — with plans, you’ll know what you need to achieve, and when.
In order to make your plans, you have to assess your goals once again — list the tasks and actions that will help you reach your goals, and do away with anything you believe to be a distraction.
#6 Make decisions
Unless you make up your mind about the road you want to take, you’ll hardly ever make it past the intersection. But, as waiting around and procrastinating gets you nowhere, it’s best that you work up the courage and make a choice.
If you manage your time properly, you won’t feel as pressed for time, and you won’t feel as pressured when making decisions — so, you’ll make better decisions with your life on a whole.
This is a tough one, especially if you like to take your time before making decisions, and if you’re often unsure of what to do next. But, this is where the plan you’ve mapped out earlier can help you.
If you’re unsure what decision to make, ask yourself: “What’s the very first step I need to take that will get me to the next point in my plan?”
#7 Question your choices
So, you’ve made some decisions on the road to your goals, but are you always sure they’re the right decisions? After all, the wrong decision may turn you away from your goals and make you lose precious time.
Simply ask yourself:
- Is this decision in line with my goals?
- What are the risks?
- Do the benefits of this decision trump the risks?
- How committed am I to my choice?
In the end, unless you like the answers, don’t move on with what you’ve previously set your mind on — you’ll save yourself a lot of time you’d later spend mending the consequences of your wrong choices.
#8 Prioritize and organize
Unless you prioritize and focus on your tasks, you won’t be able to tell what of these tasks are urgent and important for you to reach your goals.
There are several prioritization methods around, so you can make your pick:
- You can start with the Eisenhower Matrix — the solution that lets you distinguish the important from the urgent (but not important).
- Another solution is to eat your frog or do your worst or most difficult task of the day first as a way to boost your morale.
- There’s also the Pomodoro technique — a great solution for taming serial procrastinators.
- A simple, yet effective technique is time blocking — it works best in the context of taking control of your time and achieving a better work-life balance.
#9 Focus on important tasks first
Once you’ve prioritized and organized what’s really important, the next step is to focus on your priorities — if you let your mind wander off to other, less important actions, you’ll hardly ever finish what you’ve started.
Some actions to consider:
- When at work, close all tabs in your browser, except the one you’re currently working on.
- Turn off your smartphone, and focus all your attention on your work.
- Depending on your current priorities, turn off your laptop and focus your attention on your loved ones.
If you do one thing at a time to the fullest, you’ll be able to say you’ve spent your time well.
💡 Clockify Pro Tip
If you, however, for some reason like to multitask and would like to handle multiple projects and tasks successfully, our text can help you with that:
#10 Track the time you spend on tasks
Effective time management must have something to do with tracking the time you spend on your daily tasks, right?
In essence, yes.
We’re often pressed for time, so the way you spend it should be optimized.
This is where time tracking software comes in handy.
Tracking your time comes with a number of benefits, but let’s list just a few:
- Increases motivation and productivity.
- Stimulates better organization and prioritization, especially in remote teams.
- Promotes good habits and does away with bad ones.
- Gives focus and helps keep you on track with your schedule.
- Helps you understand your time management skills better.
- Supports you in understanding your limitations.
- Prevents you from wasting time.
For example, Clockify is time tracking software that can help you track your time easily and effectively. The software itself offers a bunch of useful features, such as a time tracker, calendar, and scheduling — all of which can help you stay organized and on top of your tasks.
There’s a lot you can do with Clockify to improve your time management skills — by tracking time regularly and analyzing your progress, you’ll improve your time management skills, boost your productivity, and finish projects on time.
#11 Avoid working long hours
Imagine this scenario:
- You have a lot on your plate at the moment.
- You are tempted to sacrifice your time to do it all.
- You choose to work longer hours or during the weekend to succeed, believing it’s only for a short while.
- But the work just keeps adding up — you always have a lot on your plate and you’re never able to finish by preset deadlines.
- You keep doing this because there’s no coming out of it — you’ve already become part of a vicious cycle.
- You start experiencing health issues, you never get to see your friends or family, and you feel depressed about it.
If you’ve recognized yourself in this, it means you’re a victim of overwork. It also means you’re on the way to burnout — so it’s time for a break and a rewind.
It’s easy to allow our responsibilities to overwhelm us but that doesn’t mean we should. Reconsider your priorities and come up with actionable steps to deal with all the work you have to do.
You can start by:
- Acknowledging that you’re working longer than you should — this step always proves to be the hardest one.
- Learning when to say ‘No’ to more tasks and responsibilities.
- Delegating projects and tasks when you have a lot on your plate or you’re approaching a deadline.
- Asking for help whenever you think you need it.
💡 Clockify Pro Tip
If you think you or someone from your team are working more than you should, there’s an easy way to check it. Try our overtime tracker to keep a record of your work hours across projects and see how much you spend time on each task. You can access it here:
#12 Manage your stress
Essentially, stress is a useless factor that gets you nowhere.
Even if you constantly worry about your choices and decisions, the outcomes of your efforts will be the same.
If there’s nothing you can do to control the situation, you should avoid stressing about it, too. Dealing with everyday stress properly should be your top priority, especially if you want to avoid the serious health problems or burnout we just talked about.
What does stress management involve?
- Keeping your mind off of your problems when you’re not actively working on them.
- Spending time with friends and family.
- Trying out a new hobby.
- Laughing and having some fun.
Time management and stress management are often intertwined.
When you have control of your time, you feel less stressed — and less stress helps you lead a healthier, more relaxed life.
When you reduce your stress levels, you’ll feel more capable of tackling your problems in life faster — and save more time in the process.
#13 Be patient
In these frantic times when you’re encouraged to be prompt (yet effective), and bold (yet infallible), patience is rarely considered a virtue.
Just as procrastinating with making decisions makes you lose time, trying to race across the finish line as quickly as you can causes you to make the wrong decisions.
By being patient from time to time, you’ll make your commitment to success clear, and decrease the chance of making mistakes along the way.
First, think about why you’re so impatient. Is what you’re waiting for so important that you have to think about it constantly, and devote all your time to waiting around?
Chances are that it’s not.
Instead, you can focus your attention and energy on a different aspect of your life — after all, waiting aimlessly for something you cannot change or speed up is the biggest time-waster of them all.
#14 Cope with problems and challenges
Problems and challenges stand in the way of the clean road to your goals.
Unless you learn to overcome them, you won’t be able to move on. And, if you try to bypass them without tackling them, they’ll likely just trip you somewhere further down the road.
There’s a solution to every problem — and leave no stone unturned when looking for solutions to your problems. You can also try doing the following:
- Assess the problem from every angle.
- Call your friends and family for help.
- Deal with your problems as quickly as possible.
- Be persistent in finding the best solutions for each problem.
- Talk with your teammates and ask for their opinion and advice.
- Know when it’s a good time to stop.
#15 Collaborate and communicate
You may have more control if you do something by yourself — but that doesn’t mean that you can or even that you should do something by yourself.
Communicating and collaborating with peers and colleagues helps you do more in less time — because there’s more of you doing it.
The same goes for your friends and family — you can save a lot of time in life if you would just let your loved ones help you, either directly, or with their advice and guidance.
If you have a problem you cannot solve on your own, call for help. Be direct, use simple words, and aim to communicate (if that isn’t immediately clear) why something is important to you.
Sometimes you have to turn to other people to help you lead a better life, and that’s completely okay.
Conclusion: Good time management helps us maintain control in life
When you have control of your time, you feel more in control of your life — having control of your life gives you power and freedom, and time management helps you maintain this control.
Eventually, your time management performance mostly depends on your efforts and comes down to your ability to enjoy your successes and learn from your failures.
Sometimes you’ll fail and sometimes you’ll succeed, that’s how life works.
But proper time management will help you minimize your losses, and increase the likelihood of success. And that’s its chief importance.
✉️ How important is time management for you? Do you find the advice we listed here useful? Is there anything that you would add? If there is, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org — we may include your tips in this or a future blog post!